Recap: 2015 Carolina Nationals – Part I

March 23, 2015 by · Comments Off 

Recap of the 2015 USA BMX Carolina Nationals
Story and Photos by Mike Carruth

As one of the most anticipated regular-season races of the past 12 months, BMXers from across North America, and beyond, rolled in to Rock Hill, South Carolina for the late-March Carolina Nationals.

One of the reasons for the high level of anticipation was the fact that it would be the first time many of us got to see the multimillion-dollar Novant Health BMX Supercross facility up-close, and in the flesh. This facility will play host to several important events in the coming years, including the UCI BMX World Cup Finals this year, and the UCI BMX World Championships in 2017, among other we’re certain are in the talking stages behind closed doors. Bottom line: we know we’ll be making the trip to Rock Hill at least a couple times a year.

The track is located in “The Riverwalk,” a 1,000-acre masterplan project which is redeveloping the site of a former chemical plant, along the Catawba River. The place is a beehive of activity, with hundreds of homesites, condos and other development underway, as well as the already-completed velodrome and of course, the BMX track just up the hill. Like other BMX-friendly communities (Louisville and Nashville come immediately to mind), the people we encountered in Rock Hill knew about the BMX track, and were glad to see us.

Homesites under construction in Rock Hill, SC
Looking at some of the home sites, it is not hard to imagine a brisk Airbnb business in the neighborhood leading up to the 2017 worlds. Have some extra cash on hand? Here’s a list of for-sale properties in the development. The sites shown above are within sight of the track, about two blocks away. How cool is that?!

This race, much like a couple of the Chula Vista races in recent years, had multiple events happening within the confines of the weekend schedule.

Here’s a rundown of the Rock Hill weekend:

Dual Starting Hills at Novant health BMX Supercross Track

Dual Starting Hills at the Novant Health BMX Supercross Track

On the five-meter “challenge” hill (right)

Friday Night: Pre-Race for the Carolina Nationals.

Saturday/Sunday: Carolina Nationals – Regular USA BMX National with 268/239 motos, making it a good-sized race. Riders from all over the East Coast, as well as Midwest, and many from California and points West made the trip. Competition was deep in most classes.

On the eight-meter Supercross Hill

Friday Night: USA Cycling BMX National Championships. Open to US Citizens only. Racing for the title of “National Champion” and the right to run the flag sleeve for the next year. Also, a prize purse in accordance with UCI guidelines (we think the winner received about US$873). Also, the regular pre-race “Pro Open,” which ran off the big hill.

Saturday: Stop One of the USA BMX North American Supercross Series. Open to Elites of all nationalities. A $20,000 purse for the men and a $10,000 purse for the women. Top Elite Woman would receive $3500 for her win, and winning Elite Man would receive $7000. Three other NASX stops are scheduled for 2015 (Colorado, Chula Vista and Oldsmar), and they will have the same super-sized purse as Rock Hill.

Sunday: UCI BMX North American Continental Championships. Quite a mouthful to say. Open to Elite and Junior Elite riders from Canada, USA, Mexico, as well as select island nations. To our knowledge, only the aforementioned “big three” were represented. All riders must run their country’s jersey. Apart from UCI points (which are admittedly-important leading into the 2016 Olympic cycle), it is not clear what purpose the Continental Championships serve. No stripes/jersey awarded, no number plate to run, no title, per se. A BMX News reader emailed in the same question after the race on Sunday, and we forwarded that inquiry to UCI headquarters in Switzerland for a response. We will publish it as a reader letter, if/when we receive a reply.

BMX News 2015 race coverage sponsored by Dan’s Comp
BMX News Race Coverage is Sponsored by Dan's Comp

Something New

Luke Roarty in the USA BMX SuperX Amateur SX Open Class in Rock Hill, SC
Also off the big hill, all three days, was the first-ever running of the USA BMX “SuperX” Open class. This class gives amateurs a crack at the big hill, in front of a cheering crowd, and next to seven other go-for-it pedal-plonkers. Previously, amateur racing on the SX hill was confined to mock races at the Devo camps in Chula Vista. And that was IF you earned an invite, and IF you could afford to go. This definitely opens up more opportunity for the talent pool. Both boys and girls classes are offered, but it takes five riders to make a class. Since five girls did not sign up, it was boys only in Rock Hill.

The ams followed the same track as the Elite Women (no berm jump). Given the talent on display, it would not surprise me at all to see the SuperX men hitting the Elite Men side of the track in future years. We TALK a lot about “progression” in the sport. This was a rare opportunity to see it before our very eyes, and it is capital-I Impressive.

ABOVE: Hyper’s Luke Roarty leads a gate full of SuperX in a Friday Night Moto

If there was any downside to all this Elite racing, and SuperXing happening for three days and nights straight, it was the possibility that it had a dulling-effect on the national racing that was happening between gate drops on the big hill. At least it did for me and some of the peeps in the pits I talked to.

I caught myself sitting-out some of the am classes I would normally be shooting on Saturday, with the expectation that the Elites would be up again soon. I checked myself, and got my butt down to the infield to shoot some awesome race action (which you’ll see in the photo galleries).

USA BMX streamed the full race weekend via YouTube Live–over 20 hours in all. All three days are available, in full, to watch, but we went through, and picked out the finals for some of the top classes for your expedited viewing pleasure. Feel free to scrub through to find your favorite class after watching these gems.

*Links below will open in a new window.

SuperX Open Men Video Clips
SuperX Open Final – Friday
SuperX Open Final – Saturday
SuperX Open Final – Sunday

Elite Women Video Clips
Elite Women Final – Friday
Elite Women Final – Saturday
Elite Women Final – Sunday

Junior Men Video Clips
Junior Men Final – Sunday

Elite Men Video Clips
Elite Men Final – Friday
Elite Men Final – Saturday
Elite Men Final – Sunday

USA BMX North American SX Series – Rock Hill

Elite Women
Alise Post – $3,000.00
Simone Christensen – $1,600.00
Dani George – $1,000.00
Shealen Reno – $800.00
Felicia Stancil – $660.00
Kelsey Van Ogle – $500.00
Lauren Reynolds – $400.00
Brooke Crain – $320.00
*Plus $1720 in semi money, for a total purse of $10,000

Elite Men
Sam Willoughby – $7,000.00
Joris Daudet – $3,500.00
Connor Fields – $2,000.00
Nic Long – $1,800.00
Jared Garcia – $1,500.00
Quentin Caleyron – $1,200.00
Justin Posey – $800.00
Corben Sharrah – $480.00
*Plus $1720 in semi money, for a total purse of $20,000

Top Photo: Sam Willoughby with the holeshot in the Saturday night dash-for-the-cash main event.

NEXT: 2015 Carolina Nationals Recap – Part Two


USA Cycling BMX Elite Championship Photo Gallery

2015 USA BMX Carolina Nationals – Saturday Photo Gallery

2015 USA BMX Carolina Nationals – Sunday Photo Gallery

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Virtual Flyover: Oldsmar BMX/SX

February 5, 2015 by · Comments Off 

A virtual fly-over of the new Oldsmar BMX
John Sawyer and the Oldsmar BMX crew are making progress out at the site of the future dual-hill BMX and BMX Supercross facility they will unleash on the world this year, in plenty of time for the 2015 USA BMX Gator Nationals in October.

The latest glimpse is a virtual fly-over of the track layout, showing how both tracks will flow when you go.

Looks awesome, guys! We’re already scoping out the perfect camera positions (any chance for some “media steps” on the berms?).

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New Details on USA BMX SX Series

October 20, 2014 by · Comments Off 

2015 USA BMX North American SX

Following the release of the 2015 USA BMX National schedule a few weeks back, there has been much speculation and anticipation about the forthcoming domestic SX series, which was teased on the schedule graphic with an unexplained “SX” icon (above).

That was as frustrating as a season-end cliffhanger of your favorite TV series–you were stoked for what was to come, but left saying “aw…MAAAAN!”

BMX News sat down with USA BMX COO, John David late last week to get some early details on the North American BMX Supercross Series, as well as pose a few other 2015 questions. There are still details yet-to-come, burt we appreciate John sitting down with us to give News readers some early tidbits.

NEWS:Tell us about the domestic BMX SX series USA BMX has on tap for 2015.

John David: “We’ve been working and thinking about this as a long-term strategic plan, and wanted to make sure that we created a North American BMX Supercross series–for a lot of reasons–to make sure that the USA BMX series remains one of, if not the premier series in the world. (Also) to make sure we continue to do what we have always done, since the beginning of the pro series in the 80s, and that’s to inspire the best athletes in the world to be here and participate actively in the USA BMX series. This is something that has been in motion for years–we’ve been planning to have a number of facilities, where we can have a Supercross series, and have the biggest purse money in BMX.

The series will be called the ‘USA BMX North American Supercross Series.’ It will be at least four stops in 2015, with a potential fifth stop that we’re still working on the funding mechanism for, but these are the dates for the four:

March 21 – Rock Hill, SC
August 21-22 – Grand Junction, CO
October 9-10 – Chula Vista, CA
October 16-17 – Oldsmar BMX

The Louisville, KY stop, on September 4-6, is the one we are currently working to finalize the funding mechanism for. Certainly, our hope is to have the Louisville stop (in 2015), and we’re able to have a five race series. But, if not, four stops is certainly a great start.”

News: Will there be a new ruleset for these races, or will you be using UCI rules?

JD: Each one of these events are already inscripted with UCI, so they will be part of the USA BMX series as well–it’s all kind of part and parcel. The finer details of exactly how everything is going to be structured will be something we will share with you very soon– more detals on the format–but we need a little more time to tweak and revise things to make sure everything’s solid.

News: At those four/five stops, with the SX racing be in place of the regular Pro Series racing on Sat and Sun, or will this be a separate program–kind of a “Friday Night Show,” of sorts?

JD: Both, in a way. One thing we have done for 2015 is to shift all pro racing to Friday night and Saturday. That was a strategic thing, and something that has been in the making for a long time. Sunday is always tough to get local media out to the event, whereas Friday night is a big night for local sports. And for the pros, themselves, we love the fact that pro warmup at 7:15 on Sunday morning goes away–that was something that was a big “ask” from the pros, since we had so many large pro races, we’d finish up late, then they would have to be back here at 7:15AM. There are some nice things, not only for the pros, but for the program that were thought about in creating that. It also gives us one race under the lights, and one race in daylight, for the most part, which will create some excitement as well.

NEWS: So, will the SX races be part of the USA BMX #1 Pro title chase then?

JD: Absolutely. There is no intent at this point in time to separate that out as its own separate title, but what we’re working out now is exactly how that will be integrated into the existing title.

For these Supercross races, the Elite Men will race for a purse of $20,000 per day. Elite Women will race for $10,000 per day. That makes these races the richest races in all of BMX. We still have some of the finer details yet to finalize, as I mentioned, but we wanted to get some of this info out now, so the national federation teams can make plans, in their budget and schedule, to attend.

News: A quick question on the Rock Hill weekend in March. That square has the little USA Cycling bug along with the UCI and USA BMX “SX” bug. USA Cycling released that on their Nationals Championships schedule, but did not specify if that was the Elite AND Amateur championship, or just Elite. Can you clarify that?

JD: It will be the Elite National Championships. The way that weekend will work out is: USA Cycling National Championships on Friday, USA BMX North American Supercross Series on Saturday, and UCI Continental Championship on Sunday. For the regular USA BMX National that weekend, it will be the normal ‘pre-race on Friday, National Saturday and Sunday’ format. Details for the Amateur National Championships are still being finalized and will be released soon.

NEWS: Here’s a question from a reader: “In Louisville, we are sitting in the hotel having breakfast, and saw Donny Robinson and Connor Fields on the morning news. It was great to see BMX on TV like that. Does USA BMX have plans to do more of that?”

JD: Yes! We have an intensive plan at every single national stop to work with local media to maximize coverage for the sport and the athletes. That’s a big effort, but that is one of the CORE fundamentals of what we do. At the end of the day, we don’t do it to impress our own customers, we do it so that, the wednesday following the event, at the local track (Derby City BMX, in this case), they have the best Wednesday they’ve ever had because of the exposure their track and our sport received leading up to the national.

That was the end of our interview for this installment. John promised to bring more information back to BMX News readers as it becomes available, so please watch for that.

To Summarize

2015 USA BMX North American Supercross Series

Four Stops
March 21 – Rock Hill, SC*
August 21-22 – Grand Junction, CO
October 9-10 – Chula Vista, CA
October 16-17 – Oldsmar BMX

*Friday is the USA Cycling National Championships
†Possible fifth stop in Louisville, KY, September 4-5, 2015

SX Series Prize Money
Elite Men: $20,000 per day
Elite Women: $10,000 per day

Pro Racing Schedule Change for 2015
All pro racing in the USA BMX series will be Friday/Saturday. We did not ask, but assume Sunday will be “Pro Open” as it was in South Park this year. We will confirm that. There will be Elite racing on Sunday in Rock Hll, which is the UCI BMX North American Continental Championships (which is not part of the USA BMX series).

Supercross series races are not for a separate title, and will be incorporated into the USA BMX Pro Series title chase.

Keep your eyes and ears tuned to BMX News for more information on the 2015 USA BMX National Series, and the evolving North American Supercross Series.

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Download 2015 USA BMX National Schedule (PDF)

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